360 (NYSE:QIHU) quietly launched its own search engine 5 days ago. We can’t remember how many years it took Google to become the No.2 largest search engine in China, but for 360 it turns out 5 days are enough. News broke out today that 360’s market share on search has soared to be No.2 in China. Baidu surely is still the No.1, but 360 has taken place of Sogou with ~10% market share.
How could that be possible? I called several industry friends including one manager-level 360 staff, the response from them is more or less the same: 10% market share might be a bit exaggerated, but they are not surprised that 360 could achieve this in such a short time.
Thanks to 360’s two core product, 360 browser and 360 landing page.
According to 360’s Q1 financial report, 360 browser has 273millions monthly active users, and its landing page hao.360.cn (which is the default landing page when you open 360 browser) has average 77millions daily unique IP, and the average daily click-through on page is about 295millions. So where the magic happened is that 360 has now set the browser’s and the landing page’s default engine to its own one (see the screenshot below). Before, by default, 360 was using Google search engine. The users of both product don’t even notice the change of the default search engine, they have started using 360’s search engine. With the huge user base, 360’s taking the No.2 would not be a surprise, right?
360 obviously is announcing the war against Baidu, although 360 promises to leave the options to users to choose which search engine (Baidu, Google etc) is the default one. It’s not a big threat for Baidu for now, but 360 might be very tough and ambitious in future (You may still remember the fight between 360 and Tencent). And, sadly that Google’s search market share will be shrinking again without 360’s support.
There were no further official comments from 360’s management level, yet. They only confirmed that, “Yes, we are still testing our own search engine.”